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THE IMPORTANCE OF RED DRUM ON THE TEXAS COAST Introduction The red drum is an important part of Texas coast It faces many challenges to survive without the help of man It has an interesting life cycle which in itself limits the number of red drum who survive within the first week after hatching In the 1970s the red drum was almost faced with extinction Many causes can be attributed to the decrease in numbers the biggest factor being human interaction Laws and regulations were passed to help the red drum maintain its numbers and the hatcheries have done a fine job in restoring the natural stock Today Texas has some of the best hatcheries in the United States Colura 1990 which not only help numbers of the red drum population but also inform the public of the importance of caring for natural resources The restocking effort has done a lot to give the red drum an advantage but the size and bag limits help keep red drum numbers high With all the red drum offers anglers it is not a surprise that it is one of the most coveted fish along the coast Anglers spend lots of time and money in the search for a red drum That commitment and interest translates into money for the government and into private industry There is not a worthier program to continue then the Texas State Hatchery Program Scientific Information PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION The red drum Sciaenops Ocellatus is a marine fish that is characterized by its color and body markings Matlock 1984 The most distinct marking is a black spot on the upper half of the tailsee figure 1 Most red drum have at least one spot and very often two or more but it is very rare to find a red drum that does not have any spots at all The body color ranges from
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